By Joe Taylor Jr., CardRatings contributor
Updated, February 1, 2010
Making a credit card
payment through a lender's website has become simple and seamless for most consumers. However, the way a bank's processing system has been set up can cause unexpected late fees for customers who don't double check their payment requests. One California resident discovered this the hard way, when her credit card company charged her $39 for a late payment, even though she had scheduled a deduction from her checking account days before the deadline.
A recent KGO-TV report profiled Lauren Carlysle, who called the station after seeing the late charge on her statement. Reporter Michael Finney contacted Carlysle's lender, who explained that her bill's due date fell on a Saturday. The online bill payment system automatically pushes Saturday payments to Monday, causing Carlysle's account to become delinquent.
Although Carlysle's credit card issuer reversed the charge, consumer advocates remind Americans to review their online bill payment requests for similar weekend due dates. Provisions of the Credit CARD Act
protect borrowers from being charged for same-day online payments. However, no such protection exists for customers who set a pre-scheduled payment for after a cycle's deadline.